tv ABC World News With Diane Sawyer ABC September 27, 2012 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT
manhattan skyli welcome to "world news." and tonight, sneak attack. hackers in the middle east targeting u.s. banks, freezing millions out of their accounts right now. is your money in danger? head to head. as early voting begins, obama and romney adjust their closing arguments in the battleground of virginia. with up close and personal new ads before their big showdown next week. inside job. tsa agents are supposed to screen your luggage. so, how did our stolen ipad end up in this officer's home? brian ross on hundreds of tsa officers caught red-handed. and mona lisa mystery. you know the masterpiece. but could this be a second mona lisa? it was a claim that shocked the world today. so we put it to the test.
good evening. diane is on special assignment this thursday. we're going to tell you more about that in a bit. but we begin tonight with cyber warfare. the most extensive attack on american banks ever. launched from the middle east, happening right now. citigroup, bank of america, jpmorgan chase, wells fargo, u.s. bank corp and today, pnc. america's biggest banks, with millions of american families locked out of their accounts online. so, what does it mean for your money? who's behind it? how long has it been happening? officials across the government are tracking the attacks, working to keep them from becoming financial nightmares. abc's senior justice correspondent pierre thomas starts us off. >> reporter: tonight, the financial and banking industry is on high alert as a massive cyber attack remains under way. potentially millions of customers trying bank online this past week blocked. among the targets, bank of america, pnc and wells fargo. >> there is an elevated level of threat. the treat level is now high.
>> reporter: sources tell abc news it's a denial of service attack, where hackers from the middle east have secretly commandeered thousands of computers worldwide. those computers, or zombies, have overwhelmed bank websites with a barrage of electronic traffic. different banks have been targeted different days. today was pnc's turn. we tried for three hours to get on pnc's website, but we couldn't get through. on facebook today, frustrated customers. cynthia wrote, "trying to pay bills. this is ridiculous." stacy posted, "hopefully it can be up soon. never realized how dependent i am on it." a group of hackers calling themselves izz ad-din al qassam warned the financial industry it was going to attack in retaliation for that controversial film that sparked outrage in the muslim world. the scary thing is that even with the warning, the attack could not be stopped. >> the threats are getting increasingly sophisticated. >> reporter: the u.s. suspects hackers in iran may be involved. >> this is the first time that
we know about where a middle eastern entity, perhaps a middle eastern government, has attacked websites of critical infrastructure in the united states. >> reporter: the hackers have not been able to steal any money in these attacks or disrupt financial markets, but authorities fear the next generation of wide-scale cyber assaults could be far more devastating. >> and if they get inside the banks, they can move money around and cause financial chaos. >> so, pierre, the hackers are blanketing the banks with these attacks right now, but to reiterate the bottom line, so far, everyone's money is safe. >> reporter: that's right, george. to be clear, no money has been stolen yet. but many people trying to bank online could not for a time get access to their accounts. you can see how that could make it difficult for a small business. so, that's why tonight, the government is working so hard to locate and block those ongoing attacks. >> okay, thanks very much. the race for the white house now. your voice, your vote. and with 40 days to go, voters lined up in iowa, a big turnout for the start of early voting
there. and it comes as the candidates are closing in on that first debate next wednesday. we got a preview of that faceoff today in the battleground of virginia. abc's david muir has been traveling with the romney campaign, he's here now. and david, with the clock ticking, romney recalibrating his message just a bit. >> reporter: it could seem so. some noticeable changes on the trail, george. in fact, romney using words, phrases we haven't heard from him before, saying, "my heart aches," when he hears stories of economic hardship. pushing a compassionate side. tonight, something else. both candidates chasing each other today and you're about to hear a real preview of the debate before they even get to the stage. call it the duel before the debate. the president and mitt romney chasing each other across the same states. in virginia today, the president making it clear what we'll hear from him in these final weeks. more about romney's comments about the 47%. >> i don't believe we can get very far with leaders who write off half the nation as a bunch of victims, who never take responsibility for their own lives. >> reporter: while romney today making it clear he'll bring it
back to the economy, firing back with new numbers just today, growth in this country slower than we thought. >> look at the numbers that just came out and the growth of our economy. 1.3% versus russia at 4%? china at 7% to 8%? we're at 1.3%. this is unacceptable. >> reporter: and both candidates, out with new ads, looking straight to camera, a direct appeal. romney in a plaid shirt, no tie, looking to show a compassionate side. >> president obama and i both care about poor and middle class families. the difference is, my policies will make things better for them. >> reporter: and the president, that table behind him, with what he'd say if invited to yours. >> when i took office, we were losing nearly 800,000 jobs a month, and were mired in iraq. today, i believe that as a nation, we are moving forward again. >> reporter: and with that renewed push for romney to try to convince voters of his empathy, an image from the campaign of a young romney, a missionary overseas, missing his girlfriend. his heart then as romney works to show heart now.
>> my heart aches for the people i've seen. i was, yesterday, with a woman who was emotional and she said, "look, i've been out of work since may." she was in her 50s. she said, i don't see any prospects. >> reporter: of course, the big debate less than a week away now. the president heads to nevada this weekend where senator kerry will play governor romney. and governor romney, we know, has already held mock debates. he will practice more this weekend. george, i asked the governor about nerves, if he's worried about getting up on that stage. he said he's not, he's ready to draw the line, the differences between the two. but you know a lot is riding on this. >> could be make or break. you'll be there next wednesday. thank you, david. now, to an explosive headline about the 9/11 attack in libya that killed four americans, including america's ambassador, chris stevens. the white house originally described it as a mob riot, but today, high-ranking officials called it something more sinist sinister, the work of
terrorists, preplanned, sophisticated, highly engineered and deadly. abc's jake tapper has the details. good evening, jake. >> reporter: good evening, george, that's right. and this 180 comes on the heels of criticism, much of it from republicans, that the white house downplayed this terrorist attack, less than two months before the election. secretary of defense leon panetta today acknowledged that the attack that killed four americans in benghazi, libya, on the anniversary of 9/11 was not only carried out by terrorists, it was premeditated. >> as we determined the details of what took place there and how that attack took place, that it became clear that there were terrorists who had planned that attack. >> reporter: the white house first suggested that the benghazi attack was spontaneous. the result of that anti-muslim video inciting mobs throughout the region. >> jake, let's be clear. this -- these protests were in reaction to a video that had spread to the region. >> reporter: what happened in benghazi was -- >> we certainly don't know. we don't know otherwise. we have no information to suggest that it was a preplanned attack.
>> reporter: but sources tell abc news that intelligence officials on the ground immediately suspected that the attack was not tied to the movie at all. arousing their suspicion? the fact that the attackers knew where to get ambassador stevens after he'd fled to a so-called safe house, half a mile away. the building was hit with insurgent mortars, suggesting the terrorists knew what they were doing. some administration sources tell abc news they were concerned after the white house began pushing the line that the attack was spontaneous and not the work of terrorists. the white house says assessments have changed over time as intelligence has been confirmed. president obama has repeatedly said the investigation is on to find the killers and bring them to justice. and george, abc news has confirmed that the fbi, which has been dispatched to libya to lead the investigation, has not even reached benghazi yet, 16 days after the attack, largely due to safety concerns. now, officials worry, by the time the officials from the fbi get to the site, it will have been picked clean, george. >> such a dangerous situation
right now. okay, jake, thank you. and at the united nations today, israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu took center stage with a new and pretty low tech prop. you see it right there. that line drawing of a bomb, designed to make his point that iran's nuclear program must be stopped before the moment next year when they'll be able to build a bomb. the prime minister argued that iran will back down if the world draws a clear, red line. and today, the nation's top doctors at the centers for disease control sounded the alarm about this year's flu season, which starts next month. they urged every american to consider getting a flu shot, saying that even though last year's season was mild, this year's could be, quote, unpredictable. about 42% of us get a flu shot each year. half as many as the cdc suggests. they urged all pregnant women, those over the age of 65 and children over 6 months to get vaccinated. and we move on now to good news for professional football fans. the referees will be back on the field tonight, the professional ones, thanks to a new deal with the nfl. and for everyone angry about
monday's blown call by the replacement refs, there was something else. an apology. abc's david kerley is standing by at the stadium in baltimore where the refs are back in business tonight. david? >> reporter: good evening, george. the real referees are working the game behind me in baltimore. in fact, we saw that team arrive here and head to the dressing room to put on their striped shirts. all this, after an apology today for what some are calling the worst call in nfl history. nfl players couldn't contain their glee. >> oh, they did? sweet! >> reporter: a great day for america, the white house said. the lockout over, the referees back. but the nfl's reputation is badly bruised. >> do i look relieved? >> reporter: the commissioner made the deal just two days after this call monday night by replacement refs, giving a win to seattle instead of green bay. >> the call on the field stands. touchdown. >> reporter: some say it cost betters hundreds of millions of dollars. but it was 70,000 phone calls to
the league and hundreds of thousands of tweets, which led the commissioner to apologize today. >> we're sorry to have to bring our fans through that, we're sorry to bring the general public through that. >> reporter: cleveland browns player josh cribbs getting ready to play tonight tweeted, "it's about time. it was definitely necessary." the refs, underdogs when the talks began, ended up getting what they wanted. a pay boost and more pension money in the aftermath of the now infamous call. now, the ref who made the call on monday stands by it, he says he made the right call. that quote now really just a footnote as the real refs get a warm reception back on the gridiron. george? >> i bet they will, david. thank you. and now to what could be a break in a very cold case. what happened to jimmy hoffa, the union boss who disappeared 37 years ago? there have been all kinds of rumors about where he ended up, and now, thanks to a death bed tip, this mystery might soon be solved. abc's john donvan is on the beat. >> reporter: following a tip from a dying man, police are looking at this property in roseville, michigan, at the driveway, to be specific, under
which may lie the solution to a 37-year-old national mystery. whatever happened to jimmy hoffa? and where did they dump the body? it's all marked up. tomorrow, they bring in the digger to rip it open. >> we're strictly investigating this as a cold case homicide. >> reporter: it's always been assumed that hoffa, once the powerful president of the teamsters union, who then did jail time for bribery, was killed off by the mob, after he walked out of this detroit restaurant in july 1975. >> i'm going to do what i got to do! >> reporter: it became the stuff of documentaries and movies, like 1992's "hoffa." over the years, many theories and a few leads. an early one, that hoffa's body was entombed in concrete during the construction of giants stadium, which was knocked down two years ago. later, going on tips, police drained an dug up a backyard pool outside of detroit. three years later, they pulled down a barn in rural michigan. nothing. this latest tip comes from a
still anonymous source, said to be dying of cancer, who says he saw a body placed here in 1975, as the driveway was being laid. police are not sure what they'll find. >> if it somehow happens to be mr. hoffa, we'll bring an end to a major mystery. >> reporter: as for hoffa's dna, if any is down there, authorities pulled hairs from a hairbrush of his 11 years ago. that's the match, if it's made, that will solve the mystery of where he ended up. but still not the part about who put him there. john donvan, abc news, washington. and still ahead on "world news," the tsa officer and the stolen ipad. confronted by brian ross, he blames it on his wife. and he's not the only one taking valuables. what's going wrong at the tsa, next. americans are always ready to work hard for a better future. since ameriprise financial was founded back in 1894, they've been committed to putting clients first.
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left behind at a checkpoint. then, drapes a jacket over the laptop and walks away. in this case, the tsa officer was caught, convicted and fired. >> this is the tip of the iceberg. >> reporter: new figures provided to abc news show 381 tsa officers have been fired for theft, 11 this year alone. amid what critics call a culture of indifference and lax oversight. >> i was like, man, that was easy. >> reporter: just out of prison, convicted tsa officer pythius brown says he stole $800,000 worth of items over a four-year period. brown manned a screening machine at newark, where he says he would be tipped off when overhead cameras weren't working, and others did the same thing. >> it became massive. >> reporter: massive? >> yeah. >> reporter: you weren't the only one? >> no. >> reporter: in our own investigation, involving ten major airports with a history of tsa theft problems, abc news checked bags with ipads and cash
and purposely left behind ipads at tsa checkpoints. all the luggage made it past tsa safely. and in 9 out of 10 cases, at carry-on checkpoints, tsa screening officers did exactly what they are trained to do. >> please come back to the podium to claim your item. >> reporter: but it was a different story in orlando, where our ipad was last seen in the hands of tsa officer andy ramirez. two hours later, we were able to track the ipad, as it left the airport and ended up at the tsa officer's home. brian ross from abc news. wonder if you can give me a hand here. we're looking for a missing ipad. >> missing ipad? >> reporter: yeah. when we went to reclaim the ipad two weeks later, ramirez at first denied having it. >> okay. >> reporter: is it here? >> no, sir. >> reporter: shortly after we activated an audio alarm on the missing ipad. you found it? there it is. ramirez produced it. with his tsa uniform now off, he
blamed his wife for taking it. >> my wife says she got the ipad and brought it home. >> reporter: you know, that can't be true, because the last time we saw it, it was in your hands. ramirez was fired late yesterday by the tsa, which insists it has a zero tolerance policy for stealing. >> i cannot believe he blamed it on his wife. that is something. and you're going to have a lot more of your investigation tonight on "nightline." thanks, brian. and coming up, when are mcdonald's fries the smart choice? and are sweet potato fries always the healthy choice? some deep fried surprises, when we come back. ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] you've been years in the making. and there are many years ahead. join the millions of members who've chosen an aarp medicare supplement insurance plan insured by unitedhealthcare insurance company. go long.
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today, we may have gotten the best evidence yet of water, maybe even life of mars. here's what the nasa rover "curiosity" found. an ancient stream bed, tiny rocks the size of gravel, their edges smoothed by rushing water. a stream nasa estimates was 25 miles long with waist-high water. and you got to love this tweet from nasa -- a river ran through it. and all of you french fry lovers better take notes right now. researchers for a new diet book compared fries from popular restaurants and came up with this reality check. five guys is the biggest diet buster. one large portion, nearly 1,500 calories. 71 grams of fat. mcdonald's, a nice surprise. a small has just 230 calories, 11 grams of fat. and it turns out that sweet potato fries aren't always the healthiest option. at the cheesecake factory, they have 400 more calories than regular fries. and when we come back, take a look at mona lisa, like you've
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mona lisa, da vinci's mysterious masterpiece is now being challenged by a younger rival. her owners, of course, have millions of reasons to believe their painting is the original. so, abc's jeffrey kofman takes a close look so you can decide for yourself. >> reporter: could it be? the most famous painting in the world now has a twin? >> mona lisa. leonardo's earlier version. >> reporter: that's what the owners of the so-called isleworth mona lisa told the world today. hidden in a swiss bank vault for almost half a century, it emerged accompanied by a stack of "evidence" meant to prove that this was leonardo da vinci's first version of this, a younger mona lisa. note the perkier smile. the original has always been surrounded by intrigue. her eyes, said to reveal a secret code or the artist's signature. but a second mona lisa? there are a lot of reasons to be suspect of this wannabe da
vinci. one of them? it only surfaced here in england in 1914. there is no record of its existence before then. and what does it add up to? >> well, it adds up to being an interesting copy. >> reporter: an interesting copy? >> no more than that. >> reporter: there are many reasons to believe this is a copy by a lesser artist. first, the younger painting is on canvas. leonardo painted on wood. the background on the younger mona lisa, is, well, muddy, not like the masterpiece. but the real giveaway? translucence. in the original, layers of light. they're just not there in the other one. >> when you look, you just go, wow. you look at that mona lisa and you go -- ah. >> reporter: a new leonardo would be worth at least $100 million. but imagine, with only about 20 of his works in existence, how exciting it would be to discover one more. jeffrey kofman, abc news, oxford. >> but a little too good to be
true. and finally, we mentioned at the top that diane is on special assignment tonight. and what a happy one it is. you might remember the nearly six years ago, diane reported on the children of camden, new jersey. the poorest city in the nation. well, today, diane went back to celebrate, escorting some of those same children thriving in middle school now to their school gala. she'll be back tomorrow, some great stories from that night. and thanks for watching tonight. check out "nightline" later. and i'll see you tomorrow on "gma." have you seen this woman? police are trying to track her down after a scheme in which she drove off without her 10-year-old daughter. >> skm there is san francisco's critical mass bike ride. the 20th anniversary, have you 24 hours to prepare a blueprint for ending the financial crisis at the
biggest college in the country. >> and it survived a massive fire and the great recession. what santana row added to the bay area economy. >> this hokeal store is where a morgan hill mother abandoned her child, speeding off without her after a shoplifting scheme unraveled. >> it happened eight days ago. the little girl now living with her grandmother. police are looking for marcy keelan who drove away without her daughter. we're live at that safeway in morgan hill. >> this is a store where she p her daughter came last wednesday at around 5:00 p.m. and police say the two shopped and didn't pay. and then, apparently told